Welcome to the Screen Rant Box Office Prediction. Every week we put together an informal list of box office picks for the upcoming weekend - in collaboration with the Screen Rant Underground podcast Box Office Battle - to offer readers a rough estimate of how new releases (and returning holdovers) will perform in theaters.
For a recap of last week's box office totals, read our box office wrap-up from I, Frankenstein's opening weekend - and scroll to the bottom of this post to see how our previous picks measured up.
Full disclosure: Box office predictions are not an exact science. We acknowledge that our picks may not always be correct. For the sake of offering a jumping off point for discussion, here are our picks for the weekend of January 31 - February 2, 2014.
This weekend, romantic drama Labor Day is released in 2,500 theaters while romantic comedy That Awkward Moment debuts in 2,800 theaters.
#1 - Ride Along
Once again, our choice for the top spot is Ride Along (read our review). The two-time defending champion grossed an impressive $21.2 million last weekend, indicating that it definitely has staying power with audiences – despite its poor critical reception. Neither of this week’s new releases are big enough to unseat the rising star of Kevin Hart, which also plays into the film’s favor. Even if Ride Along sees a decrease in its numbers again, there’s such a wide gap between it and the competition, it’d be hard for it to fall down the charts.
#2 - That Awkward Moment
Look for the new romantic comedy That Awkward Moment to finish in second place this week. While the film hasn’t received a huge marketing push, it still sports a somewhat recognizable cast thanks to the presence of Zac Efron and Michael B. Jordan. The latter probably has more drawing power at this point in his career, as Jordan starred in 2012’s Chronicle ($64.5 million) and received much acclaim for his performance in Fruitvale Station. We’d be hard-pressed to call either actor a “movie star” in the traditional sense, but Jordan’s profile is expanding and Efron has his own fan base that could check this out.
Also giving this film a boost is the fact that it’s a romantic comedy from the male perspective. Typically, films in this genre use a female protagonist, but featuring three guy friends as the leads will help That Awkward Moment’s general audience appeal and potentially encourage male moviegoers to see it. It’s not projected to be a huge breakout hit, but it could do solid business this weekend.
#3 - Lone Survivor
Coming in third should be Lone Survivor (read our review). Peter Berg’s war drama has had strong legs at the box office during its run, grossing $12.9 million last weekend. As it approaches $100 million, it should continue to post big numbers, as audiences have been drawn to its powerful story of courage and brotherhood. With a lack of direct competition, there’s little reason to believe Lone Survivor will fall off.
#4 - The Nut Job
Our choice for fourth place is The Nut Job (read our review). The animated film has had a solid run to date, making $12.1 million last weekend. There’s still one week to go before The LEGO Movie is released, so families could still opt for this choice. The recent announcement that there will be a Nut Job sequel could also encourage curious moviegoers to see what the first one is about.
#5 - Frozen
Rounding out the top five should be Frozen (read our review). Disney’s Oscar-nominated film has had a phenomenal domestic run, grossing $347.8 million through 10 weeks of release. Even with the presence of The Nut Job, Frozen has continued to be one of the top earners (making $9.1 million last weekend) and is showing no signs of slowing down for now.
#10 - August: Osage County
Our tiebreaker for this week is August: Osage County. The Oscar-nominated family drama finished in ninth place last week.
Director Jason Reitman had tremendous box office (and critical) success early in his career with Juno ($143.4 million) and Up in the Air ($83.8 million). However, his last film, Young Adult, failed to connect with audiences, as it only made $16.3 million during its entire run. Reitman’s new movie, Labor Day, looks as if it will continue the cold streak, which is why we do not believe it will finish in the top five. Originally thought to be an Oscar contender heading into awards season, the romantic drama received a mixed critical reception and only scored a Golden Globe nod for Kate Winslet. Not only does it lack the buzz other films this season have had, the marketing campaign is almost nonexistent.
Even the presence of Winslet won’t help much. The actress is a critical darling with six Oscar nominations (including one win), but she has not managed to parlay that into huge box office returns. Besides the juggernaut that was Titanic ($600.7 million), none of her films have crossed $100 million (most have struggled to reach even $50 million). Winslet’s second-highest grossing film was 2011’s Contagion ($75.6 million), but she was part of an ensemble and not the main reason to see that movie. Unlike most of her contemporaries, Winslet has never been a major draw for audiences, and with Labor Day tracking very low, it doesn’t seem as if that trend will change now.
That's it for this week's breakdown.
Now, if you want to participate in the weekly Box Office Battle, it's time for you to make your picks! In the comments section below, post what you think will be the top five movies this weekend at the box office as well as your own number ten tiebreaker. Then, tune into the Screen Rant Underground podcast for the results and find out who won.
Opening in theaters this week (Wide):
- Labor Day - 2,500 theaters
- That Awkward Moment - 2,800 theaters
Opening in theaters this week (Limited):
Box Office Battle Scoring Rules: You get three (3) points for each direct match with the weekend actuals and one (1) point for each movie placed within one spot of the exact position. A perfect score is 15 points. Tie-breakers are not worth any points but, in the event of a tie, the person with a tie-breaker selection closest to the number 10 spot will be awarded the win.
Last Week’s Official Box Office Battle Reader Winner (I, Frankenstein's opening): Sal reports that there was a four-way tie between Insufferable Deadpool, The Jones, 68FC and ParrJr. Each had a score of 12, but The Jones is the official winner by virtue of having the right tiebreaker.
For the record, here are our picks from last week - along with the corresponding amount of points we received for each pick (listed in parenthesis).
- #1 - Ride Along (3)
- #2 - Lone Survivor (3)
- #3 - I, Frankenstein (0)
- #4 - The Nut Job (1)
- #5 - Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (3)
- #10 - The Wolf of Wall Street
- Final Score: 10 points
Make sure to check back later this week for the official box office results and tune into the Screen Rant Underground podcast for the weekly winners!
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90
Source: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule)